Spring Retreat: Painting in the Ancient Forest

Fri/Sat/Sun May 4th - 6th, 2018
Cost: $455

Price includes three days of instruction, all materials needed for the art workshop along with two nights overnight lodging, and meals prepared in the lodge at Opal Creek.  

Register early to ensure your spot!  

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Jawbone Flats, Oregon.

Retreat for a weekend of art-making in a spectacular natural setting.  You will be led through an immersive experience in mixed-media painting, while Opal Creek staff take care of the food & accommodations. Come prepared to get messy while you get your hands in the paint, in the dirt, & in the wild surroundings. You will spend time out in the forest collecting imagery and inspiration, drawing and painting along the trail. Returning to the studio, you will learn how to incorporate this imagery into lush, layered acrylic paintings that are uniquely yours. The mixed-media painting process lends itself well to experimentation and play, and beginners and professionals alike will find themselves making new discoveries in this nurturing workshop environment. 

Opal Creek Retreat Frequently Asked Questions:

Where does the Opal Creek Retreat take place?

  • The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center is located in Jawbone Flats, Oregon, in the Opal Creek Wilderness. It is a 2-hour drive from Portland, in the mountains East of Salem.

When does the retreat begin and end?

  • We meet at the trailhead at 10am Friday morning and stay overnight Friday and Saturday nights. The retreat lasts until Sunday afternoon when you hike back out to your car and drive home.  

Are meals provided?

  • Yes meals are provided. You will need to pack your own lunch for the first day when we hike in on Friday.  Meals that are provided by Opal Creek staff will be: Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, and Sunday lunch. 

I don't eat gluten/dairy/meat/etc.  Will Opal Creek be able to accommodate my special diet?

  • Yes. The cooks at Opal Creek are very creative and resourceful in addition to preparing delicious food.  When you register for the workshop, there is a place to indicate your dietary needs and they will plan the meals for the weekend to accommodate them. 

How do I get to the trailhead?

  • Retreat participants need to get themselves to and from the trailhead.  I encourage retreat participants to carpool and will put you in touch with one another to organize carpools.  Every year we have people who fly in from out-of-state and arrange rides from Portland with locals to attend the retreat.

Do I have to carry my overnight gear and art supplies into Jawbone Flats?

  • No. You don't have to carry your gear. The fantastic Opal Creek staff will shuttle that into the cabin for you. And they will shuttle it back out 

Do we hike into Jawbone together?

  • Yes. When we meet on the first morning, we hike in together 3 miles through pristine old growth forest. A staff naturalist from Opal Creek will guide this part of the workshop, and Annamieka will geek out about plants and tell you all about them. This is a great time to get to know the ecology of the ancient forest.

I can't hike three miles comfortably or safely. Will that be a problem?

  • No problem! If you aren't able to walk the three miles into Jawbone, you can get a ride in with Opal Creek staff. And the staff who drives you in can tell you about the ancient forest ecology on the way in. We will take other hikes together during the weekend but these will be shorter, gentler half-mile walks. Please, if you have an injury or arthritis or any other issue that makes you concerned about hiking three miles, please don't exacerbate it. We don't want you to be in pain. You want to be able to enjoy your weekend!

Are we camping in the wilderness? Or are there cabins?

  • Not camping! There are comfortable cabins with real beds for you to sleep in. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag & pillow. 

Can I take a shower? Is there running water in the cabins?

  • Yes! There is hot running water in the cabins, and you can take a shower while you're there.  Please bring a towel, to help cut down on the amount of laundry that they have to do up at Opal Creek. 

Is there electricity in Jawbone Flats?

  • Yes. Jawbone is off-grid and generates its own power via the rushing river and sun. It's really neat!  You can learn more about living off-grid at Jawbone here.  Remember, this is a privilege to be able to stay deep in the wilderness and with access to power and running water. Please don't bring energy-intensive devices like hairdryers and please plan to shower less than you usually do, to conserve energy. Bring a headlamp/flashlight because it is very dark at night!

Is there wifi or cell phone service in Jawbone Flats?

  • You will not have access to wifi and your cell phone will not work in Jawbone. This is a perfect opportunity to unplug.  Enjoy the technology detox! 
  • In case of emergency, Jawbone staff have radios & limited satellite internet access. 

Where will we be painting? Do I need to bring art materials?

  • We will be painting in the solar-powered commissary in historic Jawbone flats. I go up one day early and set up the painting studio and I bring all of your materials for you. If you want to bring materials, there is a list of suggestions below, but these are totally not required. 

What will we be doing during the retreat?

  • We spend three days painting and exploring the forest and waters surrounding Jawbone Flats, and .  Jawbone Flats is a century-old historic mining town located a three-mile walk into the wilderness. The amazing Opal Creek staff support us with expert naturalists, ecology tours, and delicious meals.

Can you tell me more about the non-profit Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center?

  • Opal Creek is a very cool nonprofit, with a focus on environmental education in the wilderness. Opal Creek doesn’t typically do fine art workshops so we are very lucky to do these workshops up there. It’s a special special place in many ways – they run on their own hydropower, they are stewarding the largest patch of low-elevation old growth forest left in Oregon, they provide outdoor education to hundreds of people each year, and did I mention that the meals that they cook for us while we are there are delicious? So dreamy.

When is it, again?

  • Fri/Sat/Sun May 4th - 6th, 2018

How much does this weekend retreat cost?

  • It costs $455 for the overnight retreat including all art materials, lodging and meals.

How do I sign up?

  • Register via Opal Creek. Register soon because I am only teaching at Opal Creek one time this year and this Spring retreat will fill up!

Thanks for all of your interest and support! Teaching painting in the forest is such an honor!



Materials Instructor Provides:

Your materials fee covers everything you need to paint in the workshop for three days, including:

  • 2 large canvases
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Collage Materials
  • Palettes
  • Water Cups
  • Sprayer Bottles
  • Drawing Paper
  • Scissors
  • Collage Medium

In addition, I will bring a large assortment of mixed-media art supplies for you to try, including:

  • Texture Tools
  • Watersoluble Pencils
  • Art Pens
  • Paint Markers
  • Scissors
  • Stamps, Stencils, Sandpapers
  • Scissors
  • And more!
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Materials Students Bring:

  • Painting Apron or Smock.  Wearing clothes & shoes that you don’t mind getting paint on is a good idea, too.

  • Lightweight Folding Chair, or Stool for sitting and sketching outside. Best if it is light enough to carry a short distance to take it on a short walk into the forest to find wild plants to sketch.  You may also opt for a foam gardening knee pad instead, or no chair at all if you are comfortable sitting on the ground.

  • Sketchbook – choose a sketchbook or pad of drawing paper that you don’t mind ripping pages from; I will ask you to tear out your drawings to turn them into collage materials.  Any medium weight paper will do. Around 9″ x12″ is a good size.

Optional "Extras" Students Can Bring:

  • Collage Materials – Collecting collage materials can be a way to bring your own unique sensibilities into your paintings.  Ephemera from your life that can be collaged on to the canvas can be found in all kinds of places.   Collect at least 10-15 sheets/scraps of paper. Choose what makes you happy! You don’t need all of the following but here are some ideas of where to find good collage papers:  Scrapbook papers, Gift wrap, Tissue paper – patterned and unpatterned, Sewing pattern paper, Wallpaper scraps, Book pages, Maps, Old letters, Pages from your old sketchbooks

  • Paint – any colors of acrylic paint that you especially love.  If you don’t own any paint, do not worry!  I will have plenty of acrylic paints for everyone to share and you are welcome to just use the class paints the whole time of course.  I have just found over the years that each and every tube or bottle of paint has its own personality and so if you have certain paints that you already own and really love to work with, absolutely bring them as they will be like your familiar pals while you work and help lend your known colors and style to your work.  

  • Favorite Paint Brushes  If you have brushes that you are familiar with and love to use, by all means bring them.  I will be providing plenty of brushes for everyone to share so no need to go buy new brushes if you don’t have them already.

  • Rags – if you have a few on hand, bring them! Rags can be very handy with mixed media!

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